Company Update (NASDAQ:SNSS): Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2015 Financial Results and Recent Highlights

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS) reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2015. Loss from operations for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015 was $11.3 million and $39.3 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2015, cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $46.4 million.

“In the fourth quarter, we achieved a top 2015 corporate milestone with the submission and validation of our Marketing Authorization Application in Europe for vosaroxin to treat relapsed/refractory AML,” said Daniel Swisher, Chief Executive Officer of Sunesis.  “We are committed to bringing this important new therapy to a patient population with so few options.  We will be providing updates later this year on the progress in Europe and in other major regions, including North America.”

Mr. Swisher added: “Another key milestone for Sunesis is the progress of our pipeline of kinase inhibitors representing targeted new approaches to the treatment of cancer. Soon, we expect to initiate clinical development of SNS-062, our differentiated non-covalent BTK inhibitor with a European Phase 1A clinical trial in healthy volunteers, followed by a Phase 1B/2 in B-cell malignancy patients later this year.  We also look forward to seeing data from the ongoing multi-arm combination study for the Takeda-partnered pan-RAF inhibitor, TAK-580, and to advancing our PDK-1 inhibitor, SNS-229, through IND-enabling toxicology studies to an IND.”

Fourth Quarter 2015 and Recent Highlights

  • Submission of Marketing Authorization Application for Vosaroxin for the Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in Europe. In December 2015, Sunesis submitted a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Vosaroxin for the treatment of relapsed/refractory AML in patients aged 60 years and older.  The application was validated by the EMA on December 31, 2015, confirming that the submission was complete and initiating the Centralized Review process by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).  The MAA, if authorized, provides a marketing license valid in all 28 EU member states.
  • Presentation of Results from MD Anderson Sponsored Trial in AML and Washington University Sponsored Phase 1/2 Trial of Vosaroxin in MDS at ASH Annual Meeting. InDecember 2015, Sunesis presented results from an ongoing Phase 1B/2 University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center-sponsored trial of vosaroxin in combination with decitabine in older patients with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and high-risk myelodyplastic syndrome (MDS), as well as results from a Washington University-sponsored Phase 1 trial of vosaroxin plus azacitidine in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, at the 57th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The oral presentation, titled “Phase I/II Study of Vosaroxin and Decitabine in Newly Diagnosed Older Patients (pts) with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and High Risk Myelodyplastic Syndrome (MDS)” and the poster “A Phase I Study of Vosaroxin plus Azacitidine for Patients with Myelodysplastic Syndrome,” are available on the Sunesis website at
  • Partnership with Clinigen Group to Initiate Compassionate Use Program for Patients with AML. In December 2015, Sunesis initiated a global Compassionate Use Program for vosaroxin. The program is available to eligible patients diagnosed with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is being managed by Clinigen Group’s Idis Managed Access division.
  • First Patient Treated in Indiana University Study of Vosaroxin and Cytarabine in Adults Age 60 Years and Older With Previously Untreated AML. In December 2015, the first patient was treated in an investigator-sponsored study of vosaroxin and cytarabine in adult patients age 60 years and older with previously untreated acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The trial is being conducted at the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center at Indiana University under the direction of Seyed Hamid Sayar, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine.
  • European Patent Covering Vosaroxin Combination Use in AML and Other Hematological Malignancies. In November 2015, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted European Patent No. 2 049 109 B1, claiming certain combined uses of vosaroxin and cytarabine, at doses of 10-120 mg/m2 and 5-1500 mg/m2, respectively, for the treatment of acute myelogenous leukemia and acute myeloblastic leukemia. The patent further provides for combinations of vosaroxin and cytarabine with other therapies, such as radiation, or other chemotherapeutics, including anti-cancer agents, in hematologic disorders, whether administered simultaneously or sequentially. Sunesis is proceeding to validate this patent in multiple EPO member states. The resulting national patents would expire in the third quarter of 2027, but could be eligible for supplementary patent term in EPO member states beyond this date. Related patent applications are pending in several countries, including the United States and Japan.
  • Poster Presentation of VALOR Responder Survival Analysis at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium. In November, Sunesis presented results from a responder survival analysis of the VALOR trial at the 2015 Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium (CFS) in New York City. The analysis examined the impact of complete remission status on overall survival. Results showed that CR status was the strongest independent predictor of overall survival in patients enrolled in the study, regardless of study arm, with median survival for patients in CR lasting more than 12 months longer than patients without a CR.  Furthermore, the addition of vosaroxin to cytarabine demonstrated a two-fold increase in CR rate by day 60. The poster presentation, titled “Impact of Complete Remission on Overall Survival in Patients with Refractory/Relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treated with Vosaroxin Plus Cytarabine or Placebo Plus Cytarabine: Responder Analysis for the Phase 3 VALOR Trial,” is available at
  • Presentations at the 2015 AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics.  In November 2015, two poster presentations from the company’s proprietary kinase inhibitor programs were presented at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics. The presentations included preclinical data from the company’s selective PDK1 inhibitors SNS-229 and SNS-510, as well as the company’s potent noncovalent second-generation BTK inhibitor, SNS-062.

Financial Highlights

  • Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $46.4 million as of December 31, 2015, as compared to $43.0 million as of December 31, 2014. The increase of $3.4 million was primarily due to net proceeds of $43.8 million from the sale of common and preferred shares and from the exercise of warrants, stock options and stock purchase rights, partially offset by $38.7 million of net cash used in operating activities and $1.7 million of principal payments against notes payable. This capital is expected to be sufficient to fund operations through the first quarter of 2017.
  • Revenues for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015 were $0.7 million and $3.1 million, as compared to $0.9 million and $5.7 million for the same periods in 2014. Revenue in each period was primarily due to deferred revenue recognized related to the royalty agreement with Royalty Pharma.
  • Research and development expenses were $7.6 million and $23.7 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015, from $6.0 million and $27.7 million for the same periods in 2014, primarily relating to the vosaroxin development program in each year. The decrease of$4.0 million in 2015 was primarily due to a decrease of $5.4 million in clinical trial expenses, partially offset by increases of $0.9 million in personnel costs (including an increase of $0.5 million in stock-based compensation expense), and $0.5 million in other outside services and consulting costs.
  • General and administrative expenses for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015 were $4.4 million and $18.7 million, as compared to $6.1 million and $23.1 million in 2014. The decrease of $4.5 million in 2015 was due to a decrease of $4.5 million in professional services and personnel costs.
  • Interest expense was $0.2 million and $0.9 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015 as compared to $0.3 million and $1.7 million for the same periods in 2014. The decreases in 2015 were due to the reduced principal balance outstanding on notes payable to the Lenders under the Loan Agreement.
  • Net other income was nil and $3.6 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015, as compared to $10.1 million and $3.8 million for the same periods in 2014. The 2014 and 2015 amounts were primarily comprised of non-cash credits for the revaluation of warrants issued in an underwritten offering in 2010.
  • Cash used in operations was  $38.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, as compared to $43.2 million for the same period in 2014.
  • Sunesis reported loss from operations of $11.3 million and $39.3 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015, as compared to $11.2 million and $45.0 million for the same periods in 2014. Net loss was $11.6 million and $36.7 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2015, as compared to $1.3 million and $43.0 million for the same periods in 2014. (Original Source)

Shares of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals closed yesterday at $0.68. SNSS has a 1-year high of $3.72 and a 1-year low of $0.65. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $0.75 and its 200-day moving average is $0.90.

On the ratings front, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Mara Goldstein upgraded SNSS to Buy, with a price target of $2.50, in a report issued on January 5. The current price target represents a potential upside of 267.6% from where the stock is currently trading. According to, Goldstein has a total average return of -17.2%, a 27.0% success rate, and is ranked #3656 out of 3694 analysts.

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Inc is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development and commercialization of new oncology therapeutics for the treatment of solid and hematologic cancers.


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